10 Ways to Make the Most of a Las Vegas Buffet

It used to be that Las Vegas buffets were the best value in Sin City. They were “loss leaders” used to attract gamblers.

In fact, the very first Las Vegas buffet, at the El Rancho, cost a mere one buck. Read more.

El Rancho buffet

In today’s Las Vegas buffet, it’s considered rude to hogtie your cold cuts.

Well, the Las Vegas buffet is still going strong, but prices have skyrocketed. Dinner on weekends at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace cost a heart-stopping $53.99.

Bacchanal Buffet dessert

Bring it.

That means it’s more important than ever to figure out ways to get the most bang for your Las Vegas buffet buck. Here are 10 tips for giving it to The Man, buffetwise.

1. Have a Strategy

To own a Vegas buffet, you need to have a strategy. Is it most important to have a lot of your favorite dish or to try a wide variety of dishes? Don’t wait until you arrive before sorting this out. Time, and stomach capacity, are limited. Don’t just wing it!

M Resort buffets

The Studio B buffet at M Resort, just off The Strip, is one of our favorite Las Vegas buffets.

2. Don’t Starve Yourself Beforehand

Competitive eaters, also called “gurgitators,” know what they’re doing when it comes to consuming vast quantities of food, and they agree you shouldn’t starve yourself before a buffet visit. If you don’t eat, your stomach will contract, leaving less room for all the buffet goodness. Eat light in the morning before your buffet adventure, including food with sugar to get your metabolism ready for the challenge ahead.

3. Drink Water Instead

In the days before your buffet visit, drink lots of water to stretch your stomach. That way, you’ll be ready to get the most value for your buffet dollar.

Spice Market Buffet

Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood is another of our favorites. When it comes to Las Vegas buffets, we have a lot of favorites.

4. Chew Gum and Swallow Ice Cubes

Professional eaters use a couple of tricks to accomplish their goals. First, they chew gum to strengthen their jaws. They also swallow ice cubes to expand their esophagus. We could all benefit from some esophageal stretches, right? (Note: The Esophageal Stretches would make a great band name.) Sound extreme? Well, Las Vegas buffets are extreme!

5. Time Your Visit Carefully

One of the best tips for making the most of a Las Vegas buffet involves perfectly timing one’s visit. Costs vary depending upon which meal is being served. The idea is to pay for breakfast, but to arrive just before the lunch menu is served. The same goes for paying the lunch price, but getting the dinner dishes. Buffet Web sites are an invaluable source of information, so exploit them.

Aria buffet pizza

Take care with pizza. It’s a serious filler-upper. Which we’re not sure is a word.

6. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing

Comfort is important as your body accommodates lots of food. Don’t let confining clothing thwart your buffet-conquering. Belts are the enemy of a winning buffet experience. Expandable waistbands are the buffet champ’s best friend.

7. Visit All the Buffet Stations, Without a Plate

It’s important that your first pass of the buffet be for surveying purposes only. Going empty-handed will help you avoid making impulsive selections. See what’s available, then formulate a plan of attack.

Las Vegas buffet dessert

A Las Vegas buffet can change your life. And your pant size.

8. Avoid Stomach-Fillers

There’s a reason buffets put stomach-filling dishes in the most visible places. They want you to fill up on salads, bread, rice and pastas (oh, and the aforementioned pizza) because they’re the least expensive to provide. Focus on the meat and seafood if you’re looking to get the most value from your buffet investment.

9. Eat Slowly and Deliberately

Avoid the temptation to gorge yourself quickly. Take your time. Buffets are a marathon, not a sprint. Take breaths between bites and breaks between plates.

buffet lobster

Well, at least that’s not creepy.

10. Don’t Screw Up Dessert

The single biggest mistake of novice buffet-goers is eating so much that they can’t enjoy dessert. While desserts aren’t the most high-cost items at a buffet, they’re some of the most pleasing, so save room.

Here’s a bonus tip from frequent Vital Vegas commenter, J.K. Grence: “I have a trick borrowed from fine dining. After a full plate of rich food, I’ll swing by the ice cream and gelato case and have a scoop of a tart sorbet (like lemon) before going for the next round. It helps keep your palate from feeling overwhelmed.”

ice cream and cookie

You don’t have to tell us twice. Oops, how’d that cookie get under there. Oh, well.

So, there you have it. Follow these simple steps, and you’re likely to leave a Vegas buffet full, happy and feeling like you got a bargain.

Our final thoughts: Remember to tip your server. They may not take your order or deliver your food, but they keep the beverages coming, and remove plates throughout your meal. Play nice.

Also, please, please don’t bring a Ziploc bag to try and sneak food out of the buffet. That’s not one of the ways to try and get more value from your meal! Keep it classy.

Have other Las Vegas buffet strategies? We’d love to hear them!

Now, eat up and have a blast!

8 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make the Most of a Las Vegas Buffet

  1. JK Grence

    I have a trick borrowed from fine dining. After a full plate of rich food, I’ll swing by the ice cream/gelato case and have a scoop of a tart sorbet (like lemon) before going for the next round. It helps keep your palate from feeling overwhelmed.

  2. Corey Jackson

    Key tip I like to use is to wait for made to order food with an empty plate. For example, don’t let your bacon get cold while waiting at the omelet station. Get your sides, afterwards

  3. Chris Vuong

    Get smaller portions for unfamiliar dishes, and ask for smaller portions at meat carving stations. In the event that you don’t like it, you can feel less guilty about leaving the remainder on your plate.

  4. Gill Strand

    Diabetics need to carefully watch what we eat. Oddly enough, my most satisfying and healthy meals have come from buffets. Particularly the ones that have no-sugar, or low carb desserts. Gotta get “treats” where you can. As long as the price is fairly reasonable vs. a sit down meal elsewhere, relax and enjoy.

  5. Chris Pederson

    Thanks for the tip to not wait until you arrive to sort out what you will eat at a buffet. I think that I usually just show up and eat. I’ll try going in with a strategy to make the most out of my meal.

  6. Jack Tarasar

    I agree with SOME of the Tips. Such as “Walk the line without a plate” to see ALL the offerings BEFORE making your first plate of food. And, avoid bread, cookies, pasta, rice and any other food high in CARBS. And, do NOT starve yourself before going to a buffet. Eat a large breakfast and allow time to digest it before going to the buffet, giving time for your stomach to expand. And, try to time your buffet experience right before the next segment, lunch or dinner. More difficult now that everyone must make a reservation as the software might be full at the end of breakfast and give you a time that is lunch. The Buffet operators are not being cheap it is just that IF the breakfast or lunch reservations then they must roll over to the next OPEN reservation time. Don’t waste stomach space on items that are your favorites but are inexpensive, such as pizza. Choose food items that are expensive, such as King Crab, Filet Mignon, Oysters, etc. In other words, GET YOUR MONEY’s WORTH. Bacchanal is now (5/20/21) is nearly $70.00 for dinner and close to that for lunch. Don’t get hot dogs on a bun when you can get that for cheap elsewhere. High end seafood and meats are $20 to $70 PER POUND in your Supermarket.
    What I disagree on is: Do NOT drink lots of water or other liquids. Also, WATER or any liquid takes up stomach space. Professional Eaters only take on liquid to get the food down, at it takes up stomach space. And, do NOT be leisure about your eating pace. (1) Your body takes a while to respond to the feeling of being FULL. Jam as much food as you can BEFORE your body says NO MORE, WE ARE FULL. (2) Also, the NEW RULE at Bacchanal Buffet is a 90 minute maximum eating time. Currently (5/25/21) that I am writing this is NOT being enforced. TIP your Server well and he/she won’t rat you out. They want to get “Nasty” or “Rude” Customers OUT as quickly as they can, 90 minutes. Take care of your Server and they will take care of you. The days of 2-3 hour eating time are OVER. In order to make more money not just for the “House” but also more TIPS, they bother need to “Turn Over” the tables as quickly as they can. Lastly, and this is MY personal advise, don’t order expensive cocktails or wine or beer at the Buffet. You are there to EAT, not drink. Ordering a $18.00 cocktail is BAD priority. Drink water or “free” juices, etc. Once you push away from the Buffet table, move to the bar with the VIEW or cool bar to order $18.00 cocktails, if you must. Myself, I drink at inexpensive bars like Ellis Island, where their on site Brewery sells $2.50 pints or cheap cocktails. OR, Ocean One in the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood where Cocktails are 3 for $10.00. OR, bottles of Heineken or other top of the line beer are $3.00 at El Cortez or the “D” in downtown at the Fremont Street Experience. OR, Bird Bar at the Flamingo at Happy Hour 5-6 PM where they sell $0.50 pints of Domestic draft beer. Etc, Etc, Etc. Spend wisely when in Vegas. Spend for top of the line BEST Vegas Buffet, then spend inexpensive at other times. Ocean One has 20 or more lunch items 7 days a week for $5.00. Such as Salmon or Half Pound burgers, etc. Best food deal in Las Vegas.


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